Call for Action Investigation: Where is James Holmes?

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(KKTV) The victims have a right to know. That's the battle cry as everyone from the prosecutors to the families are trying to find out where a convicted killer is right now.

James Holmes, the convicted movie theater killer, was moved months ago and no one will say where he is. Even the man who put him away can't find out.

Tom Sullivan's son, Alex, was gunned down by Holmes on his 27th birthday.

"That is the epitome of the boogey man," Sullivan said.

Sullivan doesn't know where his son's killer is.

"We have a right to know," he told 11 News' Katie Pelton. "He murdered my son."

Holmes is currently serving a life sentence without parole after being convicted of killing 12 and injuring 70 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012.

The Colorado Department of Corrections said Holmes was moved in January to another prison in another state. No one will say where.

They said it was partly because he was attacked by another inmate.

The DOC says they say they don't have to disclose where Holmes is because of something called an Interstate Compact Agreement (ICA).

"It's an agreement...among states and among other departments of corrections to transfer offenders," said Colorado state prison spokeswoman Laurie Kilpatrick. "It's a 'like for a like,' so if we give an offender, we get an offender in return."

Kilpatrick said the agreement is in place to protect staff members, offenders, and to maintain the safety and security of the state of Colorado.

"This guy gets jumped once in prison and it sounds like the Department of Corrections freaked out and decided, 'We don't want to deal with this issue anymore, let's just send him someplace else, we'll call him Joe Smith and we'll move on,'" said District Attorney George Brauchler. "It doesn't seem like that's transparent; it also doesn't seem like that's fair."

Brauchler prosecuted the man behind the movie theater massacre. He also doesn't know where Holmes is.

"I found out, I think, when the rest of the planet found out, that he had been sort of transferred under the cover of darkness to some other unknown state at this point," said Brauchler. "We lose the ability to track him, we lose the ability to know what he's doing and where he is."


sullivan
Alex Sullivan, one of 12 murdered by Holmes inside an Aurora movie theater.

In an effort to track down Holmes, 11 News submitted open records requests to all 50 states and Washington, D.C. One by one, responses came back, saying their prison system didn't have anyone by the name James Holmes — which means he could now have an alias.

However, two states, North Carolina and Nevada, had a different answer. Both cited the ICA, and said they wouldn't release any information.

Brauchler is concerned Holmes could have been moved closer to his family.

"His family is in California. It would be incredibly frustrating to me--and damaging to the victims--to believe he was in a place where it was easier for his parents and loved ones to come visit him, and give him comfort as he serves out this sentence for murderous acts. But we don't know if he's there," Brauchler said.

In Colorado, the prison system won't comment on Holmes.

"For their safety, and the safety of the staff, and the safety of the other offenders within the facilities, we do not release information," Kilpatrick said.

Holmes isn't the only prisoner being secretly shuffled around. Right now, Colorado prisons are hiding 129 inmates from other states.

Prison officials tell 11 News that 128 Colorado offenders are being housed in out-of-state prisons.

"What did we give up to get another state to sign on to this giant safety risk? I mean, is this like the NFL draft where you take three future robbers or rapists in exchange for a mass murderer?" Brauchler said.

A strange equation — with a notorious mass murderer at the center of it.

"[The] problem is this: how is it that we can't keep one guy safe? How is it that this guy, above all others in our prison systems, needs to be moved out of state because somehow we can't figure out a way to protect him from the others?" Brauchler asked.

"It’s again one of those instances where it looks like defendants have better rights than the victims do," said Sullivan.

Sullivan said the victims have the right to know where Holmes is.

“There [are] three people in this community who will never walk again, they’re in wheelchairs, they have a right to know," said Sullivan. "There [are] people who still have shrapnel in parts of their bodies--and this isn’t from, you know, spending anytime overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan or in a theater of war—this was going to a movie theater, having a night out. And they’re carrying shrapnel and memories of that night forever with them. They deserve to know where he is. And we should be able to take the proper precautions that we can find out where he is...he can be safe and the people that are guarding him can be safe. That’s what we should be able to do.

“There were parents who dropped their kids off at a midnight theater for a midnight showing and went home--and this happened to their kids," Sullivan added. "Those mothers and fathers are dealing with that, that sense of putting their kids in danger. So here, when these kids are waking up, which I know that they’re doing, you know, from these bad nightmares, having this replayed over and over again in front of them. That parent wants to come over and comfort them and tell them that, 'No he can’t get you. He’s here or there.' They can’t actually say that to their kids now. They can say, 'Well, I don’t know where he is.' And that’s wrong.”

Brauchler thinks Holmes should serve his sentence in Colorado.

"This is where he committed his crimes against this community...this is the community that held him accountable...this is where he should have to get up every morning and look out at the Rocky Mountain sky and think about the freedom that he gave up because he wanted to kill," Brauchler said.

11 News has learned there is no time limit for how long a prisoner can be a part of this program. In fact, we're told offenders don't always return to Colorado — sometimes serving their full sentence in another state.

According to Colorado prison officials, the transferal program is used for a gamut of different reasons, including things like high-profile cases, safety issues and disciplinary issues. The department also added it does not consider the location of family in determining a prisoner's placement.

It's not the first high-profile case in Colorado where a prisoner has been moved. As KCNC-TV previously reported, Austin Sigg, who kidnapped and murdered 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, of Westminster, in October 2012, was transferred to another prison. Sigg is currently serving a life sentence. Like Holmes, it's unclear where.